3ds Max: Postbox

postboxAmerican Spam Folder.

As a modelling challenge, we were asked to create an american postbox in 3ds max and texture in in Photoshop. There was a poly limit of 1500, so we had potential to add a decent amount of detail.

Before I begin modelling, I went onto the google and googled pictures of USPS Post boxes. I was able to find some good pictures of them from the front and side, so I saved them to my PC. In 3ds, I added these two photos to a plane on the left and back of the model as a guide.

To create a nice base to work off, I created a cylinder, cut it in half and stretched it downwards to create 4 flat sides and a curved top that resembles the postbox. I scaled the entire model in relation to the reference images behind the model to get the dimensions accurate, or as close as possible. To make it even more accurate, I changed the camera mode to Orthographic and used ‘Alt-X’ to make the mesh half-transparent so I could work more easily in collaboration with the background. I then capped the bottom to add a face. The rest of the model was just the standard extruding, connecting, extruding some more – all while working closely with the two images in the scene.

Next up was UV Unwrapping.
Before I spent hours getting an outline, I decided to try using some of the automatic unwrapping tools to see if I could make my job easier. By using the flatten mapping option, post_uvit automatically created the UV map to the left of this text. As you can tell, it actually did a pretty good job on its own, saving me about an hours worth of work. It can be improved however. First of all, I removed the UV for the bottom of the model from the space and scaled it down because it will not be seen much. I also used the stitch tool to attach certain parts of the UV map back together to keep things organised. An example of where I did this was the little handle on the door of the postbox, you can see the UVs for the top and bottom of the handle to the right of the UV layout. I attached these together to form a net containing all of the handle parts to keep them all in one place. I also took the top, back, and front of the model and made it all seamless and as large as I could in the available texture space. The sides are okay, but the extruded rims that are connected to the legs, (idk, look at the picture at the top of the page and you should know what I’m trying to describe), this could also all be one island to keep it together.


After I sorted it out, this was the final layout.
Although, looking back, there are a few places which I could improve, for example, I could have used more of the texture space by selecting and scaling everything. Saved it as a UV Template, not time for Photoshop.



Diffuse and more.

The first thing i did upon adding the UV template to Photoshop was use the eyedropper tool on one of the images I had been working off to get a perfect blue colour. Next thing i did was try to add some ambient scratches and weathering, so I took to google and found a decent metal texture that I was able to add on top of the blue and multiply to get the details. Next thing: Add decals. I went onto the big web and was able to find a picture of the collection times sticker featured on the mailbox, and a United States Postal Service sticker featured on the front and sides. I added them to their places, and decided to add a keyhole decal to the front. Saved.
Now we have a pretty awesome looking postbox, but it lacks any sort of narrative. Time to fix that. I decided to try and make the box look abandoned and uncared for, perhaps during an apocalypse type event. First thing to do: Add rust. I popped over to textures.com and downloaded a few samples of rust textures with alpha masks to save some time.

I added these texture to corners, edges etc where rain would get caught or where there could be wear, such as the bottom of the box. The dotty rust texture and the paint peeling one were added to the front and sides of the postbox in strategic places. I also decided to add some worn paper to the sides which could suggest that posters were once put up but were destroyed by the environment. Again, quite easy to find on the web. On the front of the postbox, I wanted to add some bare metal that looked like it had only recently had its paint peeled off. For this, I used another texture found on google, texturescom_metalpainted0043_1_mbut used select colour range to select the bare metal. I cut this from the texture and pasted it onto the front of the mailbox. I copied some of the smaller bits of bare metal and pasted them around the sides, back etc. I also added some graffiti that suggested an apocalypse to the sides.

I also took the diffuse and created a greyscale version of it, but changed each layer individually to create a glossiness map. I made the rust less glossy than the decals, for example.

End Result.

The final model only consisted of 386 polygons. Here are the maps I created, and two rendersĀ of the final model.



Looking back at my model now that it’s done, I think I could have been a bit more aggressive with the poly count – Mine was only 386 when the limit was 1500, so I could have made the curves at the top a bit smoother. I also feel that I could improve the rust on the legs in some places.

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